A memory, a bookstore and an “epoch in my life”

Feb 10, 2017 | 34 comments

 

My mom loved books and reading. I have cherished childhood memories of not only time spent reading together, but also going to bookstores with her on Saturday afternoons, my carefully saved allowance tucked into a pink purse in the depths of her bag.

Those book-buying excursions gave me some of my first lessons in budgeting and fiscal responsibility, while also introducing me to the world of working writers—people who wrote stories in exchange for my hard-earned money and inhabited a mysterious world far removed from the one I then knew.

With the release of The Cottage at Firefly Lake ten days ago, I’ve become one of those writers and the writing world, much less mysterious than it once was, is my happy new reality. In this time of “firsts” and joyous moments large and small, one of the most momentous has been seeing my book on store shelves “out in the wild.”

First came pictures. Tech Guy and my literary agent tracked it down in Toronto and Virginia. A  friend spotted it while waiting for a a bus on Vancouver Island.

And then I saw it myself. I was in Ottawa, the Canadian city closest to my small town, for a hospital appointment with English Rose. After her appointment, we detoured to a big, Chapters bookstore. At first, I couldn’t find the romance section so a helpful staff member guided me to it. By a quirk of fate, he stopped in front of the “G” authors where The Cottage at Firefly Lake was displayed mid-shelf and cover out.

“That’s my book,” I said.

Mindful of English Rose and teen girl embarrassment, I refrained from squealing and doing an impromptu happy dance in the middle of the aisle.

“Your book?”

“I wrote it,” I said.

He hesitated, his expression puzzled.

Would I have to flip to the inside back cover to show my author photo? I had better hair in that photo.

Then he smiled. “Sorry, it took me a second to put the pieces together.”

Although I didn’t say so, I understood. As I looked at my book on the shelf alongside books by authors I admire, I hadn’t put those pieces together either.  

Would you like to sign our copies of your book?” he asked. “I can also add stickers with ‘author signed’ to the cover.”

I did.

He did.

And like Anne of Green Gables in one of those books I saved up to buy so long ago, it was “an epoch in my life.”

As I left the store and pulled my woolly winter hat onto my head to cover my non-camera-ready hair, my happy excitement was mixed with another emotion. Sadness. On my best bookstore visit ever, my mom hadn’t been there to share it with me.

But perhaps she was. And perhaps she did a happy dance of her own in a pair of those fabulous shoes we also sometimes shopped for on Saturday afternoons.

And perhaps in the middle of that big store full of books, ending up in front of the shelf with my book on it wasn’t such a quirk of fate after all.

From up there in heaven, my mom may well have given that Chapters staff member a gentle celestial nudge. It was a special day. And she was a special mom.  

34 Comments

  1. Lynn Folliott

    What a wonderful post Jen! Your Mom is smiling down on you and is so very proud…Congratulations again dear friend! Enjoy every special moment…

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much, Lynn. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Your comments about my mom touch my heart.

      Reply
  2. Katherine

    That’s a lovely picture of you and your mom. It is such an exciting time for you. Congratulations again.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Katherine. I appreciate you commenting and your good wishes. And you remember my mom and I as we were in that photo!

      Reply
  3. Dorine Fowke

    Cool! Exciting! I wish I had been there. I could have squealed for you.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks, Dorine. Your comment made me smile. I’d have loved to have had you there…squealing for both of us!

      Reply
  4. Arlene McFarlane

    Just beautiful, Jen. And how exciting that you got recognized like this in Chapters!

    It’s only the beginning!!

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Arlene. I appreciate your support, my friend.

      Reply
  5. Beth Tilbury

    Wow, what excitement! Teenage girl or no teenage girl, I would have squealed and jumped up and down, so I certainly admire your restraint. Autographing your very own “babies” certainly ranks up there with life-changing…and life-affirming events. Well done, Jen.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much, Beth. I was certainly squealing and bouncing inside! “Life-affirming” is a good description. It was that kind of moment indeed.

      Reply
  6. Anne Kinch

    So happy for you. It would definitely be an “epoch” in your life and your mom and dad would have been sooo proud! Congratulations again!

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Anne. I appreciate your good wishes and sharing in this “epoch.” It means a great deal to me that you mentioned my parents. I wish they were here to celebrate with me.

      Reply
  7. Heidi Vanstone

    I think one of the best gifts a parent can give his/her child is a love of books. I have read countless books to our children, and I like to think they are more interested in the world at large, have larger vocabularies and unlimited imaginations!

    What a wonderful surprise to “find” yourself on a bookshelf. And, BTW, my Mom saw a copy, too, at her local pharmacy!!

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Reading to children is so very important, Heidi. You’ve given your children a precious gift. I have happy memories of reading to English Rose, too.

      How exciting that your mom saw my book at a pharmacy! Thanks for sharing that with me.

      Reply
  8. Jennifer Wilck

    Beautiful post, Jen. I too have fond memories of getting books with my mom, although we used to go to our local library. And she’s still my biggest fan. I love that you’re able to see your book out in the wild, and I’m sure she has a lot to do with it. Congratulations again and enjoy every moment.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Jennifer. My mom and I used to go to the library together too so I appreciate your memories. You’re blessed to have your mom cheering you on. Thanks again for your good wishes and sharing this special time with me.

      Reply
  9. Lally Brown

    A very special ‘magic’ moment Jen … !

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      It was indeed, Lally. Thanks so much for reading and commenting on my post.

      Reply
  10. Sue Bavin

    What a wonderful post, Jen. How lovely that your book signing happened in such an unexpected and spontaneous way. And your mum was there with you, because you always carry her with you. Love the photo of you and her.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Sue. I’m glad you my post touched you. Your words about my mum touch me, too.

      Reply
  11. Jeanne

    Now there’s a happy ending!

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much, Jeanne! I appreciate you reading and commenting.

      Reply
  12. @lflwriter

    RT @JenGilroy1: A special memory, a bookstore visit & my first signing of #TheCottageatFireflyLake https://t.co/nZ5oq6l6tZ #SundayBlogShare…

    Reply

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